Friday, 8 June 2007

Golden Swallow (1968)

金燕子 (1968)

Golden Swallow 1968I mentioned in Come Drink with Me that it was the 1st wuxia with a nuxia. That's only partly true. Although Cheng Pei-pei was indeed played the swashbuckling heroine in that movie, she wasn't completely on her own.

1st, she was in a kind of Hannibal Lector - Agent Starling relationship with Yueh Hua in Come Drink with Me (1966).
2nd, more importantly, the Chinese title for Come Drink with Me is The Great Drunken Swordsman, which is obviously referred to Yueh Hua character.

In short, it wasn't a fully fledged swordswoman's role with Yueh Hua looms over her. This is to be expected. This was SB's way of testing the water for a leading heroine's role in wuxia and to see how the audience responded.

The character she was played in Come Drink with Me is in fact called Golden Swallow. Judging from the title of this movie, the audience obviously wanted to see more of Cheng Pei-pei on her own.

So this was the plan, that this 'sequel' to King Hu would keep the tradition of nuxia going. Well, you must NOT forget that this is a Chang Cheh movie, not King Hu's. Chang's wuxia are about males acting like real men or big men (大丈夫). They don't afraid of death, they're tough, they're more concerned about things like a big ego, being the best, the most invincible. They die standing up. If they get any tougher, their nuts would rust. So move aside Golden Swallow. Let the men take care of business, let the men take care of you. Run along now, little girl.

Chang's movies also about pushing the boundary of respectable gore, ruthlessness, and steely resolve. People are being guillotined in neat, delicious halves like sushi rolls dipped in tomato sauce, and their hearts are carved out in this movie as well. This sets the tone of Chang Cheh, and the audience who has a taste for violence, and some gore (respectable gore, mind you. Nothing as graphic as the theatre lecture on human anatomy for medical students. His wuxia flicks are aimed at the mainstream audience, not gorehounds).

Somebody may say this movie should be called Silver Roc, the role played by Jimmy Wang Yu who overshadows the Golden Swallow with his swooping kill move. Well, as far as the rest of jianghu is concerned, Silver Roc is Golden Swallow.

Everything I said about Chang Cheh isn't a criticism, I enjoy watching his movies, especially the somewhat cheesy background music that he put into his films. I loik it, I loike it a loit.

Any way you look at it, this is an important early film for Chang Cheh to establish his groundwork, his style.

This film is included in my IMDB movie list.

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